#058: 21 Habits of Incredibly Successful Salespeople

Teaching Your Organization to Sell

A not-to-recent issue of Success magazine was entitled “Everybody Sells.” They are absolutely right. Anyone working for a living, sells, for that matter so does everyone else.

Selling, Sells

Think about it. The stay at home mom or dad is selling an activity plan for the day to the kids. Selling your 7-year old on why they don’t need the most recent fad toy is harder than any sale faced in the business world. The executive is selling an idea or a vision when they give the end of the year motivation speech to the troops. Pastors are selling when they deliver a message to a congregation because they are trying to get you to understand how a point of scripture relates to your life. And of course, there are the professional salespeople who sell products, services, and ideas for a living.

Whether you are a professional salesperson or not, selling is important to you. Your ability to influence others to do things is largely a reflection of your ability to sell your ideas. While selling is often viewed as an art form there are certain skills everyone can and should develop to increase their sales ability. If you don’t believe me think about the performance gains you would realize in your organization if every good idea that was generated was captured, developed, and sold. Regardless of whether you sell ideas, products, or services, if you could capitalize on just a fraction of the genius that exists in your employees all previous performance records would be broken. Would that kind of performance enhance your productivity? Your bottom line? Of course, it would! A first step in creating this kind of organization is to teach everyone to sell, and to sell well.

While most of the examples offered come from years of experience selling physical products to wholesalers or end users, you should be able to draw a correlation to your organization or business as well.

There are literally hundreds of characteristics of successful salespeople. Many of them are specific to the types of industries that people work in but the habits listed here are common to most. The 21 habits of incredibly successful sales people can be divided into three categories; personal habits, customer service habits, and work habits and skills.

Personal Habits

  • Learn to balance your work and family life.
  • Be early not just punctual.
  • Look the part of professional you are.
  • Start a little early and work a little late.
  • Enjoy the work you do.

Customer Service Habits

  • Never just say “No” to a customer.
  • Fight for your customer when they’re right.
  • Get customers to believe in you not just your product.
  • Listen to your customers.
  • Do extra things for your customer.

Work Habits and Skills

  • Practice Sales Management by Walking Around.
  • Expect continual improvement.
  • Know your competition.
  • Motivate through positive reinforcement.
  • Demand integrity from yourself and others.
  • Accept responsibility when things go wrong.
  • Give credit to others when things go well.
  • Take appropriate risks.
  • Never, never, never give up.
  • Create an intrapreneurial organization.
  • Lead first, coach second, and manage third.


The one characteristic that sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is our relationship with Christ. Success from a worldly point of view means nothing apart from our relationship with Jesus. It is this relationship that is the cornerstone of our faith. It is the foundation upon which we build our families, our careers, and the society in which we live.

As His ambassadors, we must live a life that reflects His values and principles, not the world’s. In the crush of a busy workday, it is easy to lose track of that simple fact. And because it is so easy to be distracted we must become, therefore, ever more diligent in maintaining our relationship with our Lord. Find a good church in your neighborhood and anchor yourself to it, find a group of your Christian peers in which you can confide and discuss the work issues you face, look for ways to apply God’s standards at work as you read and study His word daily. Above all remember that He is always with us to help us and guide us if we will just turn to Him.

 Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What habits of successful salespeople would you add to this list? Which one or two do you need to work on to become more effective?

Bonus Whitepaper

If you would like to go a little deeper into the 21 Habits of Incredibly Successful Salespeople  I encourage you to download the attached whitepaper. In this 10-page bonus whitepaper I’ve included:

  • A discussion of each of the 21 Habits of Incredible Successful Salespeople.
  • Meeting notes to help you focus your entire organization on the importance of selling, and the use of selling skills to enhance job productivity.
  • A collection of inspiring quotes and Scripture passages

Click below to download the bonus whitepaper:


Category: Skills | Communication Skills

#057: When A Friend Calls Out of The Blue and Makes Your Day

A friend who I have known for 30 plus years called me out of the blue just recently and taught me a lesson about the importance of friendship. He was calling because he knew I had gone through some difficult situations in the last few weeks, and he just wanted to know how I was doing.

Friend, Friends

We talked for a full hour, 60 minutes. I know the ladies out there are shrugging their shoulders going “so, big deal,” but for most of us men, talking on the phone just for fun and camaraderie is a bit unusual, and for a whole hour is nearly inconceivable. I am lucky. There have been men like this in my life, most of my life, and happily several of us remain quite close even though we are separated by hundreds of miles.

By the time we were saying goodbye I felt better. My friend reaching out to me quite unexpectedly had raised my spirits. By the time we hung up after our marathon call, we had agreed to meet with another friend every few weeks just for coffee or for lunch. We want to be friends following God’s call to love our friends like brothers! And therein lies the lesson, which admittedly is more of a lesson to be learned by men. We need friends in our lives, throughout our lives!

The Bible has quite a few great examples of great friendships upon which we can lean for instruction.

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#056: Ten Things I Learned about Leadership from Dr. Seuss

My apologies and belated congratulations to Dr. Seuss, I missed your 100th anniversary on March 2. When I saw an article recently about Dr. Seuss so many memories came back about those great books, and all those characters that helped me learn to read. As I re-read some of Dr. Seuss’ inspirational prose I realized in many ways the principles taught then are just as valid in our business careers today.

So here are my top 10 inspirational Dr. Seuss quotes:

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#055: Can Failing Schools in the UK Teach the US About Effective Leadership?

Well, yes. It turns out that there is much the business leadership community can learn from some small failing schools in London.


There is a small group of schools in London that transformed themselves from the worst performing schools in England to the best performing schools in a matter of a few years. What was the key factor that drove the transformation, you ask? The quality of leadership in the schools is what made the difference!

The academicians at the Institute of Education in London studied the turnaround, and made the leadership claim, but they went on to define a set of characteristics common among successful school leaders:

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#054: How to Keep Your Power as Leader from Destroying Your Character

You’ve no doubt heard the quote from Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Diametrically opposed to Acton is a quote from George Bernard Shaw, “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.” So who’s right, Acton or Shaw?

Power, Leader

According to Mr. Webster, power in human relationships means, “possession of control, authority, or influence over others.” Sounds pretty much like a definition of most supervisors, managers, and executives. They all possess control and authority over others, and whether good or bad, most bosses influence employee behavior.

There are lots of kinds of power in our modern world.

  • There is the power of advertising. Most of us wouldn’t have jobs without the ability to advertise a product in such a way that it influences someone’s behavior so that they buy our products.
  • There is the power of celebrity. People fawn over sports stars, TV and radio entertainers, and musicians and singers.
  • There is the power of political office. People holding political office wield the power of a government bureaucracy. And of course, there is the power of money. Many people think that money is the ultimate power because if you have enough of it, you can buy the other kinds of power.

Is Power Good or Bad?

Is power good or is it bad? God created the world with the power of free choice so power in and of itself isn’t bad; it’s how people choose to exercise power that can make it bad. A car can provide endless hours of enjoyment on vacation with the family, or in the hands of a drunk, the same car can be a deadly weapon. A pen can write hateful letters or love poems.

It is how we choose to use power that really matters, not the power itself. Some people are preoccupied with the quest for power, and having once obtained it are ill prepared to handle it. Others have power thrust upon them and find that, even if reluctantly, they must manage the power.

Examining the lives of some men in scripture to see how they handled power in their lives it is apparent that some did better than others. Among the group who handled power poorly, at least at some stage in their lives, here are some key learnings about handling power:

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